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    ‘Race’, normativity and the history of sexuality: Magnus Hirschfeld’s racism and the early-twentieth-century sexology

    Bauer, Heike (2010) ‘Race’, normativity and the history of sexuality: Magnus Hirschfeld’s racism and the early-twentieth-century sexology. Psychology and Sexuality 1 (3), pp. 239-249. ISSN 1941-9899.

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    Abstract

    This article explores intersections between ‘race’ and sexuality in the work of Magnus Hirschfeld and its racialised reception. Hirschfeld, a Jewish German homosexual physician and activist, was instrumental in establishing sexology in Germany during the first three decades of the twentieth century, until his lifework was destroyed by the Nazi regime. He is best known today for his theorisations of sexuality. However, following the events of 1933, he turned his attention from sexuality to an analysis of racism, which became one of the first studies of this kind. The article retraces key moments in the formation and destruction of Hirschfeld’s sexology, and his own critique of racism, in a bid to address broader questions about the politics of biological and cultural normativity. It argues that while for Hirschfeld the ‘natural human’ was sexualised, he considered his or her racialisation an invention of normative discourses that aimed to naturalise scientific ideas as universal ‘truths’.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): sexology, race, racism, Jewishness, homosexuality, Magnus Hirschfeld, sexual theory
    School: School of Arts > English, Theatre and Creative Writing
    Depositing User: Heike Bauer
    Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2012 11:02
    Last Modified: 09 Feb 2021 22:30
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/4858

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